The Three Faces of Quality: Control, Assurance, Analysis
Many of the misunderstandings within software development organizations can trace their roots to different interpretations of the role of testers. The terms quality control (QC), quality assurance (QA), and quality analysis are often used interchangeably. However, they are quite different and require different approaches and very different skill sets. Quality control is a measurement of the product at delivery compared to a benchmark standard, at which point the decision is made to ship or reject the product. Quality assurance is the systematic lifecycle effort to assure that a product meets expectations in all aspects of its development. It includes processes, procedures, guidelines, and tools that lead to quality in each phase. Quality analysis evaluates historical trends and assesses the future customer needs as well as trends in technology to provide guidance for future system development. Stephen Michaud describes how to set yourself up in all three roles and covers the skills you need to be successful in each role.